Speaking of Blue Mars (see previous post), the reason I can run it at a bearable frames-per-second now is that I did get that Birthday Laptop that I was doing research for the other month.
PowerPro 15:3
I didn’t get either of the Alienwares, or the Sager that I was considering. Instead I got a PowerPro 15:3 (which that there is a picture of one of). I called up Power Notebooks to order the Sager, in fact, and the guy on the phone convinced me that the PowerPro (their own house brand) was a better machine for the money when you took everything into account.

And it is quite the screaming little machine (I say modestly). Intel Core2 Duo P9700 running at 2.8Ghz, 4GB of RAM, 64-bit Vista (and I really hope the rumors about having to reinstall everything after upgrading to Windows 7 aren’t true, sigh), and an nvidia GTS 160M video card. I get at least 20 fps (usually quite a bit more) all over SL, 15-40 fps in Blue Mars, like 50-60 fps in WoW (even in downtown Dalaran!), etc, etc. And if I do it very long the bottom of the machine gets hot enough to make tea. :)

And it has a big huge half-terabyte hard drive, so I’ve been installing all sorts of things that I’d moved off of the prior laptop’s always-full hard drive, like The Sims 2, and I’ve also installed The Sims 3 which I got for my birthday in addition to the laptop, as well as the Emerald viewer for SL and pretty much anything else that springs to mind. I even installed Bryce 4 yesterday because I happened to run across the CDs while searching for something else. :) I’m probably not going to get a whole lot of use out of a ten-year-old 3D modelling package, but hey it’s only a couple of GB, so why not?

So anyway, I’m all happy and spoiled, tech-wise. Not to mention, old!